Monday 26 February 2018

'Sick in head' Cork jockey googled 'girl', 'tape' and 'gagged' before attack on UCC student

Maurice Fitzgerald received a four-year jail sentence
Maurice Fitzgerald received a four-year jail sentence
Majella O'Sullivan

Majella O'Sullivan

An apprentice jockey has been given a four-year jail sentence for an attack on a young woman while he was on bail for a similar offence.

The sentencing judge described the assault as a "worst nightmare scenario" for the 18-year-old UCC student, who had become separated from her friends on a night out.

Maurice Fitzgerald (23) of Abbeyview, Buttevant, Co Cork, had followed the student, bringing with him scissors and duct tape, after she had left his house.

Judge Thomas E O'Donnell said admissions made by Fitzgerald to gardaí that he had fought his urges to hurt the woman after she had rejected his sexual advances were "startling" and contained "sinister undertones".

He told gardaí when interviewed that he was "into bondage" and was "sick in the head".

He said he had got angry and was lying in bed fighting the urge to hurt the woman before he followed her after she had left his house.

An examination of his mobile phone revealed he had googled 'girl', 'tape' and 'gagged' on the day before the offences occurred.

"This was a frightening ordeal for the victim, a worst nightmare scenario. There was an element of premeditation and calculation even though the victim was selected at random.

"The sinister undertones contained in the interviews are of enormous concern" Judge O'Donnell said.

At a previous sitting of Tralee Circuit Criminal Court, Fitzgerald had pleaded guilty to five offences including sexual assault, false imprisonment, assault causing harm, and possession of a weapon - scissors and duct tape - on the Dingle Road, Tralee in the early hours of September 20, 2015.

A four-year suspended sentence for a similar offence handed down by Judge Thomas Teehan in Clonmel was activated on his arrest.

Fitzgerald approached his victim, who was from a rural part of Co Kerry and had become separated from her friend, outside a Tralee night club at around 2am.

The judge said she believed him to be "genuinely concerned for her safety". Fitzgerald invited her back to his house telling her there was a party going on and she could sleep in the spare room.

The woman went to bed fully clothed but Fitzgerald got into the bed beside her and made sexual advances towards her.

She got up to leave but he apologised and assured her it wouldn't happen again.

When she returned to the bed he became more forceful and pulled down her leggings and underwear, the court heard.

The woman left the house at around 4am and had walked a distance of about a mile-and-a- half when she became aware of someone following her.

She started to run but the man caught up with her, caught her in a headlock, knocked her to the ground and tried to push her into a ditch.

Two men returning from late night work in Dingle came upon the scene and called the gardaí.

Fitzgerald will begin his sentence at the termination of his current sentence and will be placed on the sex offenders register for life.

Irish Independent

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